"Pena was in the temple!" a woman exclaimed, her eyes darted around the small, darkened room. "Master Pena was in the temple when the fire was started!"
"Did he die?" one of the men asked coldly. Truth be told, he'd be thrilled to hear of the religious relic's death - Pena had no love for almost half the population of the ship because of their birth or lineage.
"No! Thank goodness!" the blue skinned woman replied. "Ryan found him and went into the burning temple to pull him out."
The cold man rolled his eyes. Freya Ryan was one of the only people of 'lesser birth' to have ascended; she seemed to the support of the Captain but was too concerned with following the rules to serve their cause. "She should have let him burn." he replied finally.
The woman and the other man turned their gaze on him once more. The woman looked shocked and appalled but the man seemed to be calculating. "We're not trying to hurt people." the man said with an air of power, everything he said carried weight and authority whether he meant it or not. He hadn't set out to lead a
revolution but people were drawn to him and listened.
The cold hearted man backed off a fraction and his eyes lowered for just a second before he rallied himself and looked into the leader's eyes. "If you carry a gun, you should be prepared to fire it."
"Prepared, yes; not start a massacre." the leader replied. "Our goal is not to hurt anyone." The other man merely shook his head in reply and turned away from the leader and the blue skinned girl.
Meanwhile, in sickbay, Freya looked over Master Pena's injuries once more. He'd received a few minor burns and must have fallen while trying to escape the fire because he had a nasty head wound. Freya was sure he'd be fine but was still anxious for him to wake up. She was not a particularly religious person but the man laying in the bed was a religious icon for many on this ship.
Half the medical staff had shown up for duty early it seemed once word had spread that Master Pena was there. No one could really do anything else for him so everyone loitered around - a little nervous to leave the ward as a crowd was growing outside to pray for him. Freya looked around the spotless ward in search of tasks to give them but there wasn't much to be done as Pena was their only patient.
She tried to tune out the growing clamor of noise both inside and outside the ward as she glanced over the chart again. She had it memorized, it's not like the letters had magically rearranged themselves, but she had to keep herself busy somehow while waiting for him to wake up.
One of the nurses approached and tapped Freya on the shoulder after failing to get her attention. "Dr. Ryan? You should come see this."
Freya looked up, startled. "Hmm? Oh of course." she said and followed the nurse, not sure what it was she needed to see. The ship wide communication monitor was on, showing three people. Freya didn't think she recognized the men but the woman was certainly a descended Quuvari.
The man in the center was speaking calmly; his voice was even and commanding even though Freya had no idea who he was.
"...those that remember the Earth of Old history, may understand why we call ourselves the Sons of Liberty..." he said. Freya loved history but still had to think hard to find the reference as it was almost 300 years before Unity left Earth. "Those considered to be of lesser birth will rise from the bowels of the ship, demand the same rights to live, to marry, to work and to flourish as those who claim and ancestral right. Together we have formed this community, together we add to it with each passing year and together we can live - in harmony." he paused a moment and stood straighter, if that was possible. "I am Meng Asada; my father was a second generation embryotic; my mother was a first generation embryotic - that means I can't marry who I choose, I can't work where I choose, I can't live where I choose. And that is unacceptable. This is Lana..." he gestured to the blue skinned woman. "She can clearly trace her lineage back to the half human, half Quuvari twins born to one of the original crew, as all our blue-skinned shipmates can. In blood, they are ancestral but because they are part Quuvari they have fewer rights tha...." his words were cut off and replaced by the ship symbol before going black. They'd been cut off by security finally.
Freya stared at the blank screen trying to process what was happening. "Did you hear the opening Doctor?" Annabelle asked quietly. When Freya didn't respond she nudged her. "They claimed responsibility for the fires, the explosions - everything."
Freya raised her eyebrows, clearly she'd missed a few minutes of the speech but she shouldn't be surprised. "I'm going to take a break. Call me if he," she turned to look at Master Pena, "if he wakes up. I'll be back." Annabelle nodded and watched Freya walked to the doors. As they slid open, the noise from the praying crowd grew louder and Freya almost changed her mind. With a sigh, she pushed through the people - many of which shouted questions at her or looked to her for some word. She tried not to look annoyed by them but said nothing until she was free of the crowd. She wound her way through the throng of people, most buzzing about the broadcast. She caught a few curious looks before she slipped into the rec room. She was happy to see that it was fairly empty. She was thrilled to see Julian there. "Hey you." she said joining him at the table.
"See the broadcast?" Julian asked as he dropped the ball back into the table.
"Yes, have you ever heard of these Sons of Liberty?" Freya asked, narrowly catching the ball and sending it back the other way.
"No." Julian asked. He let an easy save slipped by him and Freya looked up at him curiously. "Have you?" he asked looking at her intently.
"What? No." Freya narrowed her eyes and lowered her voice. "Why? Would it be a problem if I had?"
"No....it's just...." Julian ran his hand through his hair and leaned over the table toward her. "They're terrorists, all the talk about rights and liberty...they're still blowing the ship to pieces little by little."
"And you think I'm part of that?" Freya asked.
"Well no...but you are a..." he trailed off and she could see the panic cross his face as he tried to figure out how to change what he'd been about to say.
"I'm an embryotic. Yes, I know that well enough." Freya said with an eye roll. "I didn't think that bothered you Julian Ice!"
"It doesn't! I love you Freya...I'm just....oh I don't know!" he exclaimed.
"Right, I get it. I have to go back to work." Freya said and left without another word. She saw several new security personnel had taken positions along the deck as she made her way back to the ward. She braved the crowd of people again but this time made no effort to hide the look of annoyance from her face until she was safely inside the medical ward.
Master Pena woke up a few hours later and with his departure from the ward, the crowd of praying people left as well. For a few days the only sign that the Sons of Liberty existed was the increased security presence, particularly around the communal areas.
Commander Bonwick was questioning anyone she could remotely tie to the explosions and with each day, her frustrations grew because they had nothing to go on. If any of the people she'd questioned knew anything, they hadn't given anything away and even though they now knew exactly what three of the Sons looked like, and even had names - she couldn't find them.
Freya knew they were coming before the door opened, she'd known for days that they'd come. She hoped, rather than believed, that it wouldn't be the case and yet there they were. Commander Bonwick, flanked by four security officers, made an imposing force as they entered the medical ward. Two of them took up posts at the door and Freya marveled at the thoughts that must be swirling in Commander Bonwick's mind to make such a show.
"Five people? Really? For little ole me?" Freya asked. She knew she shouldn't use humor, Bonwick would take it as some sort of admission of guilt, but she couldn't help it.
"Please come with us Ms. Ryan." Commander Bonwick practically sneered at her.
Freya felt two of her most supportive nurses move closer to her, as if they were going to keep her from going with the security team. Freya waved them off and nodded to Bonwick. "After you Commander."
Freya noticed more than a few looks as she and her armed escort walked from the medical ward to the security office. Bonwick dismissed the other security staff to other duties and led Freya into a small room to ask question.
"I'd never heard of the Sons of Liberty until the broadcast." Freya said before Bonwick even asked a question.
"Really?" Bonwick asked, sounding unconvinced.
"Yes really." Freya said.
"I find that hard to believe." Bonwick said.
"Believe what you want - do you have any real reason to suspect me of anything?" Freya asked coolly. Bonwick didn't reply so Freya knew the answer already. "Well then, can...." she was cut off as the lights flashed red and security officers started scrambling.
"There's been another explosion Commander, on the bridge!" one of them called and ran by quickly. Bonwick grabbed Freya roughly by the arm and thrust her into a cell. "Stay!" she said and sealed the door before leaving.
Freya considered protesting but seeing as everyone had pretty much rushed off to the new emergency, she didn't see much point in it. She sat down on the bench and decided she might as well relax. Not more than 10 minutes later, she heard footsteps and looked out into the darkened office, bathed in red emergency lights.
"Come on." a male voice said. She heard the electronic beeps of buttons being manipulated and the doors slid open.
"Who are you?" Freya said trying to get a look at the person's face.
"Not important, come on, you weren't meant to be wrapped up in this." he persisted and offered her his gloved hand.
"Are you crazy? If I leave here, she'll think I'm guilty." Freya protested.
"She already thinks you're guilty." he argued.
"But she has no proof. She can't hold me forever with nothing, but escape attempt sure screams 'Guilty!'" Freya said remaining on the bench.
"Fine!" the man sounded annoyed. "Your choic...." he was cut off as they both heard the familiar sound of Captain Hunt's voice. They turned toward the office to see his image on every monitor.
"To all residents, we are instituting a stricter curfew and several precautionary security protocols. Please check your consoles for all details. To the Sons of Liberty; your grievances have been heard, your might has been seen but for there to be progress, the violence needs to stop. I offer my time, my ear, my voice, to you in order to resolve the differences that fracture our home. Every attack on the ship, is an attack on your home as well as ours and your grievance is not with the majority of the ship. Let's talk now." Captain Hunt's image was replaces with the ship symbol after he relayed the invitation. Freya turned back to the man but found he was gone. The door was still open.
She sat back down on the bench and waited. And hoped she wasn't making a big mistake.